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How Important is Personal Branding?

I recently watched a highly interesting video with John Hayes, CMO at American Express when he discusses the relevance of personal branding in today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing world of business. It makes me think really hard. Because I thought all “personal branding” stuff is just not for me. But recently I am thinking about taking b-school online classes and it seems personal branding is a hot topic there.

All the way through his discussion, Hayes pointed out that branding is paramount to success, not just for businesses and organizations but likewise for personal employment opportunities. John’s approach to the topic of branding was perfect for various students from all sorts of qualifications. He centered on three primary topics: getting an education  – personal brand building, re-invention, and consumer relationships.


John Hayes started out his discussion with talking about the four principles he concentrates on while developing the personal brand. First, stay true to your values even if you got your MBA degree by attending a cheap online MBA class, you should value your degree. Studying for your MBA helped you to become stronger and your personal brand is more valuable.

Secondly, always focus on the service to others. Thirdly, understand the relevance of making a difference, and last, be sure you laugh. Exactly these four guidelines helped Hayes develop more than two hundred flourishing products and activities, such as Members Project, AMEX Open, ‘My Life, My Card’, and the highly sought after Centurion Black Card.


John Hayes said he feels that the world we are now living in is in the middle of a big revolution. Among other aspects, this revolution involves technological, economical, societal, and political changes. As a consequence of these rapidly evolving changes, we all need to be ready to leave our comfort zones, even if it means going back to business school for further education. We really should be prepared to do a lot of things differently.

To demonstrate his point, Hayes made clear that out of the top 100 businesses in the year 1900, just 8 of them were still around in 2000. To be able to keep up with all the fast-paced and dynamic business developments, re-invention is key. Exactly this is what kept those eight businesses alive and still active among the top 100 businesses in 2000.

American Express turns out to be a real model of reinvention, as the company is known, set off in the freight forwarding business, and at some point shifted into the travel business. It took over a hundred years in the company’s existence, that it had reinvented itself and became the strong credit card brand it is today.


The primary center of every business enterprise is the people. If there is no consumer support, every business will go wrong, and people value relationships. If you find yourself in business, you need to understand that there is more than only transactions, everything is about consumer relationships.

These consumer relationships are elementary to the success of marketing efforts. To set up solid relationships, trust is fundamental, states Hayes. This is most true in the financial business where companies deal with clients’ capital and personal data files. Trust appeals to people to establish and manage relations with your specific business.

Students’ response to Hayes’ speech was absolutely favorable and probably this event will be positioned as one Gabelli School of Business’ most important events of the year. The school was able to organize this event thanks to The Fordham University Entrepreneurship Society.

All the way through the meeting, the secret to being successful turned out to be the most emphasized topic. The information that Hayes shared with his audience was extremely valuable. Hayes reminded the audience that as such, skills do not correlate to success, nor does intelligence.

To be successful, curiosity and persistence are the essential factors, and we must always look for learning opportunities, or explore strategies we wouldn’t dare before. And regardless of what happens, we should always persist. There is no such thing as easy success, but you can achieve your goals if you continue to keep overcoming obstacles.


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